How Your Business Can Benefit from Instagram’s New Search Option

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How Your Business Can Benefit from Instagram’s New Search Option

With the onslaught of challenges brought on by 2020, Instagram has upgraded its app to try and make it easier for users to locate the people and content that fits their interests by adding a search option. Up until this past November, effective marketing on Instagram meant adding every conceivable hashtag variation to each post to maximize the visibility of your content to your target audience. This produced several challenges such as tedious keyword variation searching for marketers and unsightly hashtag-dominated posts for users. Marketers had to expertly anticipate which hashtags their audience would be using, think up as many possible variations as they could, and try to make this slew of hashtags added to every post as non-imposing as possible to the content itself. The existence of articles that talk about “How to use hashtags on Instagram without being annoying” certainly highlights the challenge this has created. Tricks like using several line breaks, incorporating symbols, using capital letters, and posting hashtags in the comments of a post rather than the post itself have helped to increase the readability and visual appeal of using multiple hashtags. However, Instagram must have noticed the absurdity of this system when they chose to add the search function. While hashtags can add some level of flair, having more than a few of them can have a desperate feel and turn off your audience from wanting to follow your business or see your posts on their feed. This put marketers in the tough spot of having to consider sacrificing some of their potential visibility in favor of protecting the image of their content. Not to mention, Instagram users grew frustrated that they could only find the content they wanted through clicking hashtags and related profiles. This made Instagram less user-friendly than say Etsy or Facebook in terms of engaging with related content and building a community. This update was released mid-November of 2020, and while only time will tell, it may have revolutionary effects on the way a business can reach their audience without having to compromise the appeal of their content. So, how can your business potentially benefit from this new search option feature?

Instagram SEO Ranking

Instagram’s search option offers an easy new way to identify keywords to incorporate into your content (dare I say, Instagram SEO?). Until this update, hashtags were make-or-break in Instagram marketing. If you didn’t use a specific hashtag or a particular variation, your posts may never have been found. Now, by searching using the keywords that your target audience might use within the captions of their posts, you can fine-tune your content to connect with them. Before the update, you were limited to searching profiles, usernames, hashtags, and locations, but now you can search for specific keywords. However, according to the update, keyword searches will be “limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines”. So, there may be some limits to the search, but it’s definitely worth running some tests to see what your searches come up with. Instagram also plans to add more keywords to its search over time. Instagram says that they use a number of factors to rank their keyword searches, “including the type of content, captions, when it was posted, and more". It will certainly take some time to see how this ranking algorithm works and what keywords Instagram decides to add over time, but it could certainly rival hashtags as the way to identify relevant keywords and optimize your content. It may be possible to improve your rankings in the Instagram search results by ensuring that your bio and content captions contain relevant keywords. If Instagram’s algorithm follows suit with Google, this would make it easier for your audience to find your content. It looks like search results are also influenced by who you follow and what content you’ve “liked” on the app. This means it may be more important than ever to engage with your audience on the app rather than just posting content.

Locating Rival Brands, Influencers, and Potential Clients

Not only can you look up keywords to find who your competitors are, but you can also improve your service or product by searching out negative things being said about your brand or your competitors and adjusting your content and services accordingly. Searching keywords can also help you identify potential influencers and clients who use keywords related to the ones you use in your content. The search feature even allows you to search by location and find who has taken pictures at your location. You may be able to ask them for permission to share their posts or create a connection that allows for greater visibility of your content. Networking has always been a large part of digital marketing, so Instagram’s search option may make it easier to create these connections.

Streamlining Keywords

This new function could potentially streamline the way marketers work with keywords and cut down on a lot of administrative work. However, there’s still a lot to be learned about how exactly the Instagram search algorithm works. For example, is it exact match only? Can it understand synonyms? Is it able to recognize images and include these in the keyword’s searches? Not to mention, Instagram users may not even choose to use the search function at all. Hashtags may end up reigning supreme in the way Instagram users navigate the app. Only time will tell. Before you rely entirely on this new function, be sure to run some of your own tests to see what comes up in search versus hashtags and alter your Instagram marketing strategy as necessary. As always, the update will likely evolve and be tweaked over time, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. Get in touch with Social Spice Media to learn more about creating a marketing plan for your business and how you can effectively spend your marketing dollars. Our team pays attention to your goals and creates a custom strategy that delivers results. Do you know someone who could benefit from our services? Refer them to us today! Our team is eager to connect with businesses in any industry. We serve the local needs of Ventura County and Santa Barbara as well as anywhere in the United States.